Airplane cabins of the future

But is this based on reality?

Contrast that with today’s cramped seats and overcrowded airports and it looks like our flying experiences are getting steadily worse.

The aviation industry has been investing massively to prove nostalgic travelers wrong.

Yes, aircraft may still look similar to those of the so-called golden years.

But every single aspect of the air travel experience is currently being overhauled — all driven by technology.

Right at the forefront are airplane cabins. And key to their transformation is wireless connectivity.

With virtually every passenger toting a smartphone, tablet or laptop, inflight Wi-Fi is opening up new ways to engage with air travelers and redefine the flying experience.

Panasonic waterfront

Panasonic’s Waterfront system which was unveiled earlier in 2016, allows passengers to use their mobile devices to control an aircraft’s built-in entertainment.

Mobile tech already plays an important role in enhancing travel, from electronic boarding passes to last-minute bids on biz class upgrades.

Some airlines, such as KLM, have even started sending boarding passes and flight alerts through a dedicated airline Facebook Messenger chat bot.

But the one area where mobile can become truly transformative is inflight entertainment, with personal devices becoming gateways to a whole range of up-in-the-air services.

While built-in in-flight entertainment systems are unlikely to vanish, particularly on long-haul flights, they can work in tandem with the passenger’s own devices.

Sleeping cocoon

Factory Design’s Air Lair concept offers passengers their own personalized cocoon. White is also behind Air Lair, a concept of sleeping pods that immerse premium travelers in a futuristic cocoon with adjustable light, sound and temperature. Other designs envisage adding sleeping rooms in standard aircraft cabins

“It’s simply a question of who has the ambition and willingness to invest into a project of this scale and truly break the mold,” says the company’s industrial designer, Matthew Cleary.

Sounds radical, but perhaps not so much once the likely evolution of current technologies and concepts are taken into account.

“Design houses really are competing fiercely for airline business and that means they are also pushing the limits of creativity,” says Runway Girl Network’s Simson.

“Designs are becoming more intuitive, fabrics more breathable and inner-foam materials are being developed to stay cooler (which adds to comfort).

“Increasingly, we see seat designers taking cues from the automotive industry too, with auto seat makers such as Recaro and Mirus having started successful aero divisions.”

Airbus’s Wuggetzer says there’s potential to develop powerful strategies to produce standout cabin features, even in economy class.

Transparency is key, he adds.

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